Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hangout Alert!: Discuss the SF Food Scene With Gary Danko, Nancy Oakes, and More

(Cross-posted on the Zagat Blog)

This Thursday, we're teaming up with the folks at Zagat for a panel discussion that is, to put it bluntly, epic. Nancy Oakes (Boulevard), Gary Danko (Gary Danko) and Mourad Lahlou (Aziza) will be on hand, along with SF Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer, to discuss San Francisco's food story. We'll be asking them questions about the current state of the city's restaurant scene and they'll be dishing out tips for aspiring chefs or restaurant owners (and hopefully they'll share a few pointers for scoring a reservation at their top-rated restaurants).

The Google+ Hangout will take place live starting at 6 PM EST. You can submit questions and get an invite to participate here. If you want to stream it live, tune in to our Google+ Page to see this impressive roster of food peeps share their thoughts.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

An easy way to save your Discover Card to Google Wallet

A few weeks ago we released a cloud-based Google Wallet app that supports all credit and debit cards. The new version of the app provides access to the same set of payment cards when you’re shopping in-store as you would online with Google Wallet. Already we’ve seen a significant increase in signups and app usage as people have loaded all their cards into Google Wallet.

To make it even easier to save cards to Google Wallet, we’re working with credit and debit card issuers on a novel approach to adding cards to your wallet. Discover Card is the first issuer to launch an implementation of our new Save to Wallet API for Payment Cards.

To save your Discover Card to Google Wallet, just follow these short steps:

  1. Visit discover.com/googlewallet and sign into your Discover account
  2. Click “Add Your Card”
  3. Sign into your Google Account

And that’s it! You don’t even need to look up your credit card number, let alone type it in.

Discover securely transmits all required information directly to Google Wallet. You can then select your Discover Card to be the primary method the Google Wallet app will use for in-store purchases, or when shopping online from Google Play or other merchants that accept Google Wallet. You’ll continue to earn rewards on every purchase you make. Discover has also provided Google Wallet with card imagery for the Discover More® Card, so you can easily identify your virtual Discover card in your mobile wallet.

So go ahead and save your Discover Card into your Google Wallet today. And if you haven’t yet tried our new Google Wallet app, it’s available now on compatible phones in the US.

Posted by Frank Young, Commerce Business Development Manager, Payments

Monday, August 13, 2012

Opting In All Your Products to Product Listing Ads

Today we held a Hangout on Air covering “How to Easily Opt In All Your Products to Product Listing Ads.”

We want to help retailers benefit from the limited time offer (covered elsewhere in this blog) that expires Wednesday, August 15, just 2 days from now.

In this session, we covered:  (1) how to set up a Merchant Center account, (2) how to easily upload your product data, (3) how to create a Product Listing Ads campaign and (4) how to bid on all of your products so that they can show in Google Shopping.

If you missed the Hangout, you can find it here on the Google Business YouTube channel.

Posted by Jon Venverloh, Head of Platforms, Google Shopping

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Make this school year the best one yet with Google Offers

The school year’s just `round corner, and that means one thing: you’ve got an A+ excuse to put your shopping hat on. From pre-kindergartener to PhD, Google Offers has swag for every type of student.

Parents of K-8 kiddos, make your little one feel special with a personalized lunch box—then stock it up with earth-friendly, reusable sandwich bags. Jumpstart her love of science by surprising her with a subscription to the Magic Schoolbus Science Club, or pique her imagination with a glossy, art and poetry-filled Cricket or FamilyFun Magazine. You can even help your child hone his long division skills with an online math prep course—but save plenty of time for your tot to color outside the lines with a crafty Doodle Roll art kit.

Hitting campus for the first time? Get ready for dorm life with some upcoming Google Offers (starting 8/15), including school essentials, like funky Mimoco flash drives or a self-filtering Hydros water bottle. Go ahead, wow your professors with your speed-reading and language skills (check out offers from Iris Reading and Livemocha)—just don’t neglect your wardrobe. Online boutique Betabrand specializes in wearable whimsy, with hoodies, dresses, reversible smoking jackets, and even disco pants, as well as back to school-worthy backpacks.

Recent college grads, gear up for your first “grown-up” job by taking your spreadsheet skills to the next level with an online course from Udemy. It’s also time to start saving, so plan for your (financial) future with LearnVest’s online academy.

Back to school supplies have come a long way from pencils and 3-ring binders—and let’s face it: they’re a whole lot more fun to drop in your virtual shopping cart. So get moving. Shopping is now in session.

Check your inbox for more Back to School bargains from Google Offers.

To subscribe to Google Offers, please visit: www.google.com/offers. And follow our Google+ Page for news and updates from the Google Offers team.

Rebecca Kurzweil, Editor, Google Offers

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Google Shopping Updates

Helping Merchants Succeed: Updates to Google Shopping

We’re dedicated to helping merchants succeed with Google Shopping and a huge part of this success involves making it easy for businesses to optimize their accounts, especially before the holiday season. For example, we recently released an update to AdWords Editor that allows retailers to easily manage Product Listing Ads at scale and delivered a series of four Hangouts on Air to help merchants make the transition to Google Shopping.

We’re continuing to actively release improvements to the product and we recently started ranking the results in Google Shopping based on a combination of relevance and bid price--just like Product Listing Ads are ranked. While products listed without a bid will continue to show until the final transition to a commercial model is complete in the fall, advertisers who are promoting their products with Product Listing Ads will have better positioning and increased traffic.

Merchants who create Product Listing Ads will also have greater control over where their products appear in Google Shopping, due to the inclusion of bid as a factor in ranking. And in the future, they will have the opportunity to differentiate their businesses and market special offers, such as, "30% off all refracting telescopes”.

9 Days Left To Take Advantage of Limited Time Offer

In May, we announced Google Shopping, a new initiative to improve our shopping experience that makes it easy for shoppers (your customers) to easily research purchases, compare different products, their features and prices, and then connect directly with merchants to make purchases.

A key part of this initiative was helping make this transition easier for merchants by offering two incentives:

  • All merchants that are promoting all of their online product inventory and who are compliant with Google Shopping policies by August 15, 2012, will receive a monthly AdWords credit of 10% of their total US spend on Product Listing Ads through the end of the year.
  • Additionally, merchants active on Product Search  as of May 30, 2012 can fill out this form by August 15, 2012 and receive a $100 AdWords credit to use toward Product Listing Ads.

With only 9 days left until the August 15th deadline, we suggest visiting this site to learn more about these incentives today.

We’re focused on ensuring that merchants of all sizes succeed with Google Shopping and the roadmap includes even more exciting changes that will make it easier to manage Product Listing Ads. To get started with Google Shopping, visit our getting started guide.

Jennifer Dulski, Director of Product Management, Google Shopping

Monday, August 6, 2012

Google Shopping Hangouts on Air Recap

Last month we announced a series of Hangouts on Air designed to help guide small and medium sized businesses through the transition to Google Shopping. We appreciate how many of you took the time to join the hangouts and wanted to make the sessions available for those who were not able to attend live.

Session 1: Google Shopping Introduction and Overview

Our first Hangout on Air provides an introduction to Google Shopping, including an in depth overview of the changes. Watch it here.

Session 2: Introduction to Merchant Center

Session two provides an introduction to Merchant Center and walks through best practices for getting started. Watch it here.

Session 3: Creating and Optimizing Product Listing Ads

The third hangout in our series guides you through the creation of Product Listing Ads and covers best practices for optimizing your performance. Watch it here.

Session 4: Google Trusted Stores Overview and Setup

Our final Hangout on Air covers Google Trusted Stores and walks through how your business can participate. Watch it here.

We hope you find these sessions useful as you transition to Google Shopping. You can find these videos and all future Google Shopping videos hosted on our YouTube playlist.
David Kaufman, Google Shopping Team

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Use any credit or debit card with Google Wallet

(cross-posted to Official Android Blog)

Since we released the first version of Google Wallet, the app that makes your phone your wallet, we’ve made it available on six phones from Sprint and Virgin Mobile, as well as the new Nexus 7 tablet. We’ve also partnered with more than 25 national retailers, and thanks to MasterCard PayPass, you can pay with your phone at more than 200,000 retail locations across the U.S.

Today we’re releasing a new, cloud-based version of the Google Wallet app that supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Now, you can use any card when you shop in-store or online with Google Wallet. With the new version, you can also remotely disable your mobile wallet app from your Google Wallet account on the web.

A wallet with all your credit and debit cards
To save a card to Google Wallet, just enter the number into the mobile app, online wallet, or Google Play when making purchases. When you shop in-store, you can use Google Wallet in conjunction with your selected credit or debit card for purchases (more info here). Shortly after making a payment, you’ll see a transaction record on the phone with the merchant name and dollar amount. You can now view a history of all your in-store and online purchases from the online wallet.

To support all credit and debit cards, we changed our technical approach to storing payment cards. The Google Wallet app now stores your payment cards on highly secure Google servers, instead of in the secure storage area on your phone. A wallet ID (virtual card number) is stored in the secure storage area of the phone, and this is used to facilitate transactions at the point of sale. Google instantly charges your selected credit or debit card. This new approach speeds up the integration process for banks so they can add their cards to the Wallet app in just a few weeks. Banks that want to help their customers save cards to Google Wallet, including their custom card art, can apply here — there is no cost.

A wallet you can lock — and remotely disable
We take security very seriously and have always had a dedicated Google Wallet PIN to prevent others from making payments with your Google Wallet. And as always, we encourage Google Wallet customers to set up the phone’s screen lock -- as an extra layer of protection.

Today, we’re adding a Google Wallet security feature that makes it possible for you to remotely disable your mobile wallet on a lost phone. It’s easy. If you lose your phone, just visit the ‘Devices’ section in the online wallet and select the phone with the mobile wallet you wish to disable. When you successfully disable your wallet on a device, Google Wallet will not authorize any transactions attempted with that device*. If the Google Wallet online service can establish a connection to your device, it will remotely reset your mobile wallet, clearing it of card and transaction data. There is no way you can do that with your leather wallet.

The new Google Wallet app is available now on Google Play, and if you have a supported NFC device and are in the United States, we encourage you to give it a try.

Posted by Robin Dua, Head of Product Management, Google Wallet

* For now, Google Prepaid Cards and some Citi MasterCard cards will remain active until Google Wallet can remotely connect and reset your mobile wallet.

Quick tip: lot of questions about the need for Internet connectivity while using the Wallet app. You will need an Internet connection to enter a credit card; to change the selected payment card; and to see transaction details. However, you will not need an Internet connection to actually make a payment in-store if you have previously selected a card.